Two Nigerians charged over COVID-19 PPE multi-million dollar fraud

Two Nigerians, Babatunde Adesanya and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, were, on Monday, arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly obtaining by false prentence the sums of 1.5 million euro and another 880,000 euro as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7 million euro from one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn.

Also charged with the duo on a 10-count charge, is Musterpoint Investment Nig. Limited, a company which Abbas is said to be the Managing Director.

They allegedly cloned a Dutch company to defraud it of COVID 19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth millions of dollars.

They are accused of being members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network that cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to transact with and defraud Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The suspects are said to have fraudulently obtained the sums of money using psuedo names.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who appeared for the prosecution, told a Federal High Court in Abuja, Monday, that the two defendants and Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd were involved in the multi-million Euro scam.

Malami said the amended charge substituted for the earlier charge dated dated October 17, 2020.

One of the charges said the defendants obtained by false pretence the said sums of money through an account with Citibank, London.

They were also accused of conducting financial transactions illegally.

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They defendants are accused of cloning and operating a website (Musterpoint) similar to the original which is based in Holland, Netherland, through which the illegal transaction was carried out.

After the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty and their counsel to the second and third defendants, Adu Ojo-Abah moved for bail application.

He pleaded with the court to grant the defendants bail, saying he has no access to them since they were arrested on August 15. He said he has not been able to put up any defence because he has not met with them.

Bunmi Aina-Craig, counsel to the first defendant, also prayed the court to grant Adesanya bail based on health grounds. She said from the police report, the defendant was sick and needed medical care.

She pleaded alternatively, he should not be moved from police custody to get proper medical care.

However, Malami countered the bail applications, arguing that they were oral applications.

He said the defendants were not in position to determine where they are to be detained.

“No legal justification that the defendants be detained in police custody. Correctional centres are known to have efficient health facilities than police cell. They should be moved to the correctional centre”, Malami said.

Justice Anwuli Chikere adjourned the matter to November 9, 2020 to take arguments on the bail applications while she ordered the defendants back to Correctional Centre, Kuje.





Two Nigerians charged over COVID-19 PPE multi-million dollar fraud

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